Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


May 1, 2007

College Of Liberal Arts And Sciences Names 'Iowa Great Teacher'

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) has created the Iowa Great Teacher Award, a new annual award honoring a hardworking, innovative pre-college teacher. Ina Hubbard-Heidemann, who teaches sixth grade at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Newton, is the first recipient.

The CLAS invited its graduating seniors from the state of Iowa to reflect back on their educational experiences and nominate an elementary or secondary school teacher who had a real impact on their education. Hubbard-Heidemann was nominated by Anastasia Bassis, who graduates in May with a bachelor's degree in microbiology. Hubbard-Heidemann will be honored at the CLAS commencement May 12 with a plaque, a $1,000 honorarium and a $1,000 award for her school.

"Ms. Hubbard-Heidemann is an exceptional teacher who uses pure energy and enthusiasm to motivate her students to learn," said Helena Dettmer, associate dean for academic programs and services in the CLAS, and a member of the selection committee for the award. "She is truly a tireless educator who made a lasting impression on her students. She encouraged her students to have a positive attitude about life and introduced hands-on learning in the classroom, and that's really what the students responded to."

In nominating Hubbard-Heidemann, Bassis credited the teacher with impacting students' education and character development. "Every week, we had to write down one thing we were thankful for in our assignment notebook, and our parents had to do the same," Bassis said. Bassis described a number of memorable educational experiences: building an Egyptian pyramid that represented something personal about herself, developing a DNA helix, having international speakers visit the classroom, and learning to budget money by taking a field trip with $5 that had to last through three purchases.

Inspired by a similar award at Williams College in Massachusetts, CLAS physics and astronomy professors Philip Kaaret and Steven Spangler proposed the Iowa Great Teacher Award. Linda Maxson, dean of the CLAS, agreed that such an award would recognize the many outstanding teachers in the state of Iowa and foster engagement between the UI and schools in Iowa.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Nicole Riehl, 319-384-0070,;